Saturday, August 30, 2014

If We Love - We Will Obey

In the family relationship children who love their parents will obey their parents. Children that purposely disobey their parents don't love them as they should. Children are commanded to obey their parents (Ephesians 6:1), and they will gladly do so when they truly love them. The same is true in the realm of religion. When one says that they "love" Jesus then they will show that love through obedience to Him.

Jesus' Instructions
In John 13:34-35 Jesus said: "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." Jesus taught that man MUST love one another to be accepted by Him. He showed that in three ways: 1) By command: "That ye love one another". We have no option when it comes to love if we are to practice true Christianity. We must love one another. 2) By example: "As I loved you, that ye also love one another." Jesus showed us what love is all about through the life He lived. He loved us so much that He died for us. We must also show and practice this kind of sincere love for our brethren. 3) By necessary inference: "By this shall all men KNOW that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." When we love one another the way Jesus expects us to, then others will KNOW that we are His disciples.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words
We have heard the old saying that "actions speak louder than words". This is absolutely true. Lip service will not get an individual very far; it certainly did not impress Jesus as He called the Pharisees hypocrites saying: "This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Matthew 15:8-9). Jesus KNEW that if they truly loved Him then their actions proving so would follow. But what happened? Their heart was not set on following Jesus but after the commandments of men. Does this sound familiar? Many today say they "LOVE" Jesus, yet do not do as He says, but will follow the doctrines and commandments of men!

"If ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15). This is especially important to understand in view of the fact that Jesus also said: "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 7:21). Many precious souls are going to be lost because they did not OBEY the commandments of Jesus. The apostle Paul addressed this in his second Thessalonian letter when he stated: "In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;" (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9). It would sure seem to me that when one says that they "love" Jesus then they would WANT to do everything that Jesus asks them to do. Our eternal destiny depends on what we DO with our life while we live on this earth.

Let Us Abide In The Love Of Jesus
In John 15:10 Jesus said: "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love." The only way that we can abide in Christ is to do what He has asked of us. Do you really "love" Jesus Christ? If so, then you will obey Him, knowing that it is only through Him that you will receive eternal salvation (Hebrews 5:9). If you have not obeyed Jesus' command to be baptized (John 3:5), then you must ask yourself "Do I really love Jesus?" Remember, love is demonstrated through ACTION of obedience.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Our Conscience Is Not Our Inspired Guide

No doubt you have heard things like "let your conscience be your guide," or "if it seems right then it must be right," or "no one can have a good conscience while doing something wrong." To find out if these statements are true we must go to the source of all authority and that is the teaching of Jesus Christ and His inspired Word, the Bible. I believe it is true that our conscience should help guide us through life but we need to understand that our conscience is only as accurate as it has been taught. Just because we think something is right, it may not necessarily be so. The apostle Paul said: "Indeed, I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth" (Acts 26:9). We know that while he was doing these contrary things that he was doing them in "good conscience". "Then Paul, looking earnestly at the council, said, "Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day" (Acts 23:1). Therefore, just because something seems right to us, this does not make it absolutely so and we can also do things without it offending our conscience.
Our Conscience Must Be Trained By the Word of God
Our conscience must be trained to discern between right and wrong. If it has only been trained by our parents, then we will develop a conscience that will consist of values that we have learned from our parents. We need to ask ourselves, "where did my parents get their values?" If their values came from God’s Word then they have passed on values based upon God’s teaching and that is good. However, if they received their values of life from other sources, then you have received your values of life from your parents based on sources other than the Word of God. Why is this important? Because when our earthly life is over we are going to be judged by the words of Jesus. Jesus said: "He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him — the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day" (John 12:48). We need to understand that we must live our life on this earth with a good conscience that is based solely on the words of Jesus Christ and the authority that He gave to His inspired apostles. Peter wrote: "knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (2 Peter 1:20-21).
The Bible Is Our Inspired Guide
The apostle Paul plainly taught that the Bible is the true source wherein man can be made perfect in God’s sight. He said: "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16-17). It is only through scripture that we can truly learn what God wants us to do in order to be pleasing to Him. The Bible must be our guide throughout life, not our conscience. Unfortunately most people go through life living for the moment and basing just about everything they do on how it makes them feel. As long as their conscience does not bother them, then they continue to partake of all the pleasures of life without any regard to what awaits them after this earthly life comes to an end. I urge you to do as the Bereans did back in the first century as they "….received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11). Remember, your conscience is only as good as it has been taught. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Sin of Jealousy

Jealousy is listed by the apostle Paul as a work of the flesh in Galatians 5:20, and will keep one from entering into heaven (Galatians 5:21). Webster defines jealousy as: "resentfully envious." It is a trait that has its roots in darkness (Romans 13:12-13). When one is filled with jealousy, it keeps them from being rationale about other things that are happening around them. A jealous individual is filled with resentment and often times has a negative outlook on life.

What Causes Jealousy?
There are several things that cause one to become jealous. Some of these things include ignorance (Romans 1:28-29), vainglory (Galatians 5:26), and carnality (1 Corinthians 3:3). But I feel that the number one thing that causes most people to be jealous is selfishness. Paul wrote: "he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself" (1 Timothy 6:4-5). The self-seeking individual who cares only about himself is usually the one that also becomes engulfed in jealousy.

What Are the Results of Jealousy?
James writes: "For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there" (James 3:16). As I said earlier, jealousy keeps one from being rationale and as a result confusion exists. When one becomes confused they are then more likely to succumb to evil deeds. Solomon wrote: "Wrath is cruel and anger a torrent, but who is able to stand before jealousy?" (Proverbs 27:4). A certain destruction will await all those who are filled with the sin of jealousy. Therefore, cast this evil away (2 Peter 2:1), and learn to love your fellow man. Paul wrote: "Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;" (1 Corinthians 13:4). Recognize jealousy for what it really is, cast it aside, and live by the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Where Is Your Hope and Trust?

There are many people and things that we put our hope and trust in these days. Often times we do not realize the amount of hope and trust that we have in our friends today. In some cases we hope and trust in others more than we even trust God "For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe" (1 Timothy 4:10). Paul told Timothy that their hope was fixed on God. Is our hope fixed on God today? We need to be aware that if we are not trusting in God, in all aspects of our life, then we are missing the boat. Sometimes we show more confidence in an acquaintance than we do in God our Father. God is alive, He created us, and He knows what we need (Matthew 6:32). As a result, we should want to put our hope and trust in God. No one knows us as well as our Father and when we understand this then we will quickly go to our Father in prayer and place all of our hope and trust in Him to lead us through each day of our lives. But He won’t help if we do not ask. Jesus said: "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Matthew 6:33). When having a bad day, do you call on your best friend to abide in, or do you seek God and pray to Him? Jesus said "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me" (John 15:4). Is God first in your life? Do you put all of your hope and trust in Him? If so, good for you. If not, reevaluate your life and strive from this day forward to put all your hope and trust in God our Father!